Arsenal and Emery Season Review.

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As the final whistle sounded in Baku, it brought an end to Arsenal’s first season of the post Wenger era. A European final, even one where the result didn’t go our way, does not indicate a bad season, and certainly not a bad start for a new coach. But looking back, this should count as a season of regret for those at Arsenal. As the likes of Cech, Welbeck and especially Ramsey say goodbye and move on, this regret could potentially expand to a cause for concern about the future as well. It is with this trepidation that I decided to take a look back at the season and try to make sense of what happened.


The Goodbyes to Wenger had taken place last season, the memories and messages all shared, tears shed, and the chapter drawn to a close. Then… a palpable sense of excitement. Who would take over and lead us into this new era? Turns out it was PSG’s former manager. We pored through his record, his matches, his statements. Some were excited, some were disappointed but virtually everyone was looking forward to a fresh start, no matter what it would bring. Even the more cynical ones saying it would need time, were prepared to be patient.

The only jarring note was struck by Ivan Gazidis inserting himself into every photo, video and interview, indicating he was the boss. Unai Emery was pointedly introduced to us as Arsenal’s new Head Coach. He immediately won us over with his spirit and courage in facing the press and answering questions in his very broken English. We wanted to get to know the man and his vision for the club, and together he and the CEO outlined the process they were aiming for. Everyone was on board, and couldn’t wait for the season to begin.

Including the players. Mesut Ozil cut short his holiday to join the Arsenal tour. Young hotshot midfielder Guendouzi rejected the call up for an international youth tournament. Torreira was playing well with Uruguay at the World Cup and it was reported how excited he was to join us. Leno seemed like a good addition who would help with playing out from the back. Our dynamic Dortmund Duo were to be joined by the serious CB Papa, and we added Old Man Licht as backup RB.

The PL threw us, and Unai Emery, a curveball with the fixture list, but even that couldn’t dampen our spirits. This was a new Arsenal. We knew it wouldn’t be easy, but we had a new coach in charge, new players, a new plan, and football was here!


Domestic Cups:

Let’s just get these out of the way. My attitude to this review, the attitude of most of the fans and the players. Not really our target, more like nice to have, but we weren’t starving after 3 recent FA Cup wins, so these were bonus matches. We beat a few lower league opponents, and went out against our league rivals in both the cups. No big deal. The only quibble I had was that we didn’t use the opportunity to play more of our young prospects.

Europa League:

Drawn into a group against Sporting Lisbon and with much travelling involved wasn’t ideal, but we entered as clear favourites. Not just for the group, but in many people’s eyes, for the whole thing. Which frankly, scared me. Arsenal fans should not be extravagantly optimistic. Never ends well.

Still, the group didn’t pose us any problems. 5 wins and a draw, and we went through as winners. Again, I would have preferred if we’d played some more of the youth against Vorskla and Qarabag, but ultimately, the job was done and we entered the knockout rounds with a tie against BATE Borisov as our reward.

It was in the first leg of this tie that we reached possibly the nadir of our season. A painful, turgid, even shameful 1-0 loss away to the Belarussian champs. In what was to become a running theme, this was treated by many as an unfortunate blip on an otherwise upward trend. BATE’s season is just starting so they are fresh, the pitch wasn’t great, the travel doesn’t help, and we’ll get the job done in the return leg. All of which are varying degrees of truth, but this Valentine’s Day loss seems to carry deeper meaning than that. It certainly led to some off field changes, but we can get to that later while sipping on a cup of tea. We did get the job done in the return leg, and on to the next round.

A few weeks later, and we were doing this job of falling over away from home again. This time in France to Rennes. The annoying Ben Arfa was having a laugh at our, and probably more at Emery’s, expense after our 3-1 loss. However, we turned it around again at home, beating them 3-0, Auba’s black panther mask was out, and we were through to the Quarter finals of the Europa League. Take that Ben Arfa!

A tough tie against Napoli who also were among the tournament favourites. But this time we weren’t having any of it. Victories in both legs, with not too much fuss as far as I can recall, and on to the semis.

Valencia, with Gabriel and Coquelin came next. They started well, came at us, and scored an away goal that we were hoping not to concede. But we countered immediately, scoring two quick goals through Lacazette. Aubamayang added another in the 90thminute. A 3-1 win. Still all to do in the return leg. Once again Valencia started well and scored an early goal. But route one football and a great long range finish from Auba changed the game. Arsenal were in control as we won 4-2 (7-3 on aggregate) and made our way to our first European final since 2006.

Premier League:

The toughest of opening day fixtures with the champions coming to the Emirates. No upset, but no cause for being upset, other than an injury to AMN. This was followed by a frustrating loss to Chelsea. Frustrating because we could have been out of sight in the first half if we’d taken our chances, despite the early goals we conceded. As it is Chelsea readjusted, and Emery introduced us to something other than the 68th minute subs we’d become used to under Wenger. All part of getting to know his team. Despite the result, some cause for optimism. Justified by the come from behind victory over West Ham with a 90th minute goal from Welbeck making it 3-1 to Arsenal, and confirming Emery’s first win as Arsenal manager.

As it turns out that was the first of a 7 match winning run, and a 14 match unbeaten run in the league. Cardiff, Newcastle, Everton, Watford, Fulham and Leicester went down before Crystal Palace held us to a draw right at the end of October. Two more draws to Liverpool and Wolves before a win over Bournemouth brought November to a close.

Then came the big one. December had us facing Spurs, ManU, and Liverpool. First up, Spurs came to our home, and Eric Dier decided he could shush us. Sit down he said, to one Aaron Ramsey who was a substitute but had a punch up with Dele Alli, the battle of words with Dier, and came on to provide 2 assists as Arsenal won 4-2. Legend. 3 days later, Manchester United and Arsenal battled to a draw. A bit of a blur this one, but I recall us conceding right after scoring to go 2-1 up. Games coming thick and fast now. Huddersfield next and a 1-0 victory with not much positive except the 3 points. Southampton then again proved to be our bogey team, ending our unbeaten run. This was followed by a win against Burnley, a draw against Brighton, and a huge 5-1 defeat to Liverpool to close out the year.

January went much better with wins against Fulham, West Ham, Chelsea and Cardiff, before ManCity again put the brakes on us in February. 5 days before the BATE debacle, we got ourselves a hard fought victory over Huddersfield. We closed out the month by taking revenge on Southampton, and destroying Bournemouth in a 5-1.

March again saw us face Spurs and ManU, with the results reversed this time. A draw against Spurs (Auba missed a penalty, but Ramsey owned the Wembley pitch. Say it with me…Legend….) and a good win against ManU with a long range Xhaka goal. April began with a win against Newcastle and a loss to Everton before the 1st leg of the Napoli tie. Sandwiched between the EL Quarterfinals was the hilarious win over Watford. Both good hilarious and bad hilarious for Deeney’s early red card and for how bad we were in the game, respectively. A sign of things to come.

We’re in the Endgame now”

Then came the giving away of the time stone, otherwise known as the Top 4 Trophy, as Emery Strange saw only one possible scenario to win the Champions League qualification gauntlet.

Crystal Palace – L

Wolves – L

Leicester – L

Brighton – D

And when it was all over,

Burnley – W

Finishing 5th. 1 point outside the top 4 behind Spurs, and 2 points behind Chelsea in 3rd. But at least we had the European Final to go to. Win a trophy, and we’d achieve our main target for the season.

The Final:

Travel and ticketing issues, Mkhitaryan’s safety and the politics, and a poor pitch were the stage for this final. Uefa pulling out all the stops to let us know just how second tier this trophy is to them. But a trophy it was all the same and we were facing a rival who had their own problems to deal with. We had the greater need since they’d already qualified for the big top next year.

Arsenal started off well enough, controlling most of the game. There was an appeal for a penalty, but I didn’t think it was one. As the game went on, Chelsea grew into the game, made some adjustments and by the end of the half we were already on the backfoot, with Cech making a couple of sharp saves.

I’ve tried to wipe the second half from my memory files, but the nightmare scenario of Giroud winning it for Chelsea remains. He scored the opener with a fantastic diving header at the near post, won a penalty for their 3rd goal, and most annoyingly, in a move reminiscent of his pass to Ramsey in the FA Cup final 2 years ago, he gave an assist to Hazard to wrap up the score at 4-1. Iwobi’s goal was great, but like much of this season will not live long in the memory.

Trust the Process:

So how to evaluate this season? What I can say for sure is that it has not been fun. Even for writing this review, I was struggling to remember much of what had happened. It was not pleasant to go over it all again, though I tried to make the most of it. It’s almost distressing to think about what has happened this season, especially when it held out so much hope, both at the beginning, and at the end. My opinion is that it has been an unmitigated disaster. If it were up to me I’d fire Emery, even if it meant replacing him with a relative novice like Freddie, or anyone else as long as he actually has the vision to match the words. Emery doesn’t seem to realise that above all, football is entertainment. Whatever joy there was in this side has been systematically sucked out. The system sucks. End of.

The counter point I’m faced with is that it’s only a transition season and despite some difficulties imposed on Emery, the results have basically been on par. It’s true that any coach needs time to build their side. We are often quoted the example of Klopp (who thankfully, saved football for all of us) But is good coaching and a rebuild a function of time alone? Trust the Process has become a mantra of sorts, but oddly enough, no one seems to want any discussion on the process itself. Merely on the results, and the fact that we’re a position higher in the PL table with 7 more points, and progressed a round further to the final of the EL.

But is football really only about the results? Would any serious evaluation not look further? Except when results are either spectacularly good or spectacularly bad, I’d always put process above results. That’s what you really control. Away from the spotlight, I’d hope Arsenal are carrying out a serious analysis of the season. I shall attempt to do the same here.


A large squad turnover in the 2017-18 season, was the start of a rebuild. At virtually no added cost in transfers and wages, in January we transferred Giroud, Walcott, Coquelin, Debuchy, and Alexis Sanchez out, and in came Aubameyang, Mkhitaryan and young CB Mavropanos. We also extended Mesut Ozil’s contract within this budget.

This left us with a solid attacking core built around Ozil, with two top class forwards ahead of him, and Ramsey, Mkhitaryan and Iwobi to support him.

In the summer, the club spent 70m to fill the remaining gaps in midfield and defense. In came young midfielders Torreira and Guendouzi, experienced CB Sokratis and young GK Leno, who would help us build from the back, an area of weakness for our senior GK Petr Cech. A free backup RB signing followed with the experienced Lichtsteiner.

Although the rebuild would not be complete for another season or two, there was no rush to do so, as the high level of talent in attack and the experienced, if ageing, defense, gave us a good platform to compete well for the next 2 or 3 years. On the basis of this, a roadmap was laid out and presented to the fans by the club and the head coach.

  1. Play attacking football – Possession, pressing and playing out from the back.
  2. Not heavily reliant on the transfer market – Funds would be available, but the head coach is to work with the players at the club.
  3. Play and develop the youth
  4. Represent the club and its values well

Though left unstated, it was understood that the target was to qualify for the Champions League. Failure to achieve this in the first season may, however, be acceptable.


The expectations among the fans and at the club was that Emery’s more hands on, tactical approach would lead to a better structure for the players, which would help improve the defense, while still maintaining the commitment to attacking football.

However the underlying numbers are cause for concern. We have created fewer shots than last season, and have conceded more shots to the opposition. Individual errors remain high. Possession stats are down. The very visible plan to play out from the back was abandoned very early. Our distance covered numbers are up, but there is little evidence of a coherent press.

Midway through the season, there was some upheaval in the club’s upper management, which possibly impacted on some of the team’s cohesion and plans. Certainly, the decision to withdraw Ramsey’s contract came as a surprise to many, and it couldn’t have helped him or the coach. There was also some major incident between our head coach and our highest paid player. This too might have been triggered by management wanting to bring down expenditure and getting the largest contract among the squad off the books.

While this may be an extenuating circumstance, confining the analysis to the head coach, there is a body of evidence that his preferred style of play is incompatible with Mesut Ozil. Emery seemingly prefers to attack from out wide, using the midfielders more as conduits and shields for when the move breaks down. This is not an ideal use of the talents of one of the best creative midfielders in the world, and our highest paid player.

Attempts to freeze him out of the squad did not go down well with his teammates as he remains a popular member of the team. Following a series of poor performance and finally, defeat to BATE, things came to a somewhat public head with Ozil making a point on social media, and a few of the players ‘liking’ his post. Eventually it led to the coach reversing his decision and reinstating Ozil in the squad and the team. It remains a strained professional (and personal?) relationship and a potential flashpoint. This presents the club with something of a problem since the size of Ozil’s contract makes it difficult to ship him out, even if he were to agree to go, which is doubtful.

On working with the present squad, the head coach has not met the target. His plans seem in dissonance with what this team was built for, and the result has been a reduction in player value and added costs for next season.

In such a scenario one might have expected the youngsters in the squad to be given more game time. While Guendouzi has enjoyed a regular place in the first team, and Maitland-Niles as well, the rest of our youth players have not been deemed worthy of regular involvement in the Premier League. Emile Smith-Rowe played in the cups and the Europa League group stages, but was sent on loan in January. Despite the injury to Danny Welbeck, Eddie Nketiah has received very little time on the pitch. Similarly, Joe Willock has not regularly featured despite the injury (and absence) of Aaron Ramsey. Neither has Mavropanos in defense despite injuries to Holding and Sokratis at different points of the season.

The collapse at the end of the season, when qualifying for the Champions League seemed likely, must also count as cause for serious concern.

The head coach has stated his desire for going into the transfer market. Through a lack of funds in January, the club nevertheless signed Denis Suarez on loan – a player he had worked with before. This turned out to be more of a waste of funds as the player hardly played, and ended up returning with an injury.

If the head coach is retained for next season, to play his preferred style of football would need a major overhaul of the squad, accelerating the time line of the planned, gradual, rebuild. Unless the club is able to recoup much through sales, this would also represent a major loss through investments made not just in Ozil, but the window of opportunity for our attackers. In addition, there is the lost revenue and value from Ramsey’s departure.

A rebuild then would likely need the sale of one of our most valuable assets. The options for this are essentially confined to Aubameyang, Lacazette, or Bellerin. We could also look to sell some of the squad players like Elneny, Jenkinson and Mustafi, and replace them with younger players from the market, the academy, and returning loanees like Chambers and Bielik. Yet another option would be to let go some senior players nearing the end of their careers such as Koscielny and Monreal.

On the plus side, we will be shedding a significant amount from our wage bill as Cech retires, and Welbeck, Lichtsteiner and Ramsey are leaving. There will also be increased revenue from the new shirt sponsorship with Adidas.

A reported transfer budget of 40m would need some creative manoeuvring. The appointment of a technical director would be of help in this regard, and also in ensuring that while the coach retains focus on the season’s goals, the long term health of the club is not compromised.

Marketing and Brand Value – ‘Values’

This may seem a more trivial point, yet it is significant that even while introducing Unai Emery, the then CEO chose to make upholding club values as a target. For years Arsenal had struggled to match the spending and the trophies of our rivals under the stadium debt, and faced a lot of negative press for it. But the fanbase still kept expanding. Much of this was based around the marketing of the club’s history and values as unique in the football world. These values involve respect for players beyond just the strictly professional, honouring a given word, dignity in dealing with the press, and the commitment to attacking football and youth development.

This season has seen a major departure from how the club has done its business. From withdrawing Ramsey’s contract, the treatment of Ozil, and the unceremonious departure of an injured Welbeck, to the lack of exciting ‘on-brand’ football, and some disappointing statements from the coach to the media.

If the club is to retain the involved passionate support of many among its supporters around the world, it is imperative that it goes back to honouring its values not just in words, but in deed.


The final league position and improvement in points, and making the final of the Europa League are serviceable results. However, missing out on qualifying for the Champions League is disappointing, especially with the end of season collapse that caused it.

The quality of football remains suspect, issues with man management exist, and a major overhaul might be required in the immediate future.

There is once again division among the fans, and could potentially derail next season’s campaign. This makes it vital for the club to carefully, but quickly, assess their plans as pertains to the head coach, the technical director, playing staff, and budgets, and to communicate these effectively to the fans.

Shard @ShardGooner

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83 comments on “Arsenal and Emery Season Review.

  1. Marvelous article. Fair and balanced.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Wonder if anyone will have the patience to read through all of that.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A very well thought out and comprehensive read.
    Very hard to be positive for the future at this point. A familiar collapse, our best players getting older, or maybe disillusioned, relatively little money to replace players, seems Stan and co worry more about FFP than I suspect Wolves, Leicester, Everton and maybe in the medium term, Newcastle or West Ham might, never mind some clubs who sit above us. At this point, I really worry about the futures of our strikers especially.
    The positive for the future, all I read about Stan is that he is about media marketing as well as real estate and sports team ownership. This will mean the European league in the increasingly likely event it happens, even though I keep emphasising he is doing nothing wrong as an owner, he might have to pull his finger out a little bit, perhaps he is already doing so with the TD and his son of reports are true Josh is a little more hands on. Wenger is gone, you can’t just leave a club in capable hands and hope for the best now.
    Emery, ultimately a grade C season for me. I am one who believes he needs time, but the collapse at the end of season has surely put him on notice, the management cannot be blind to what has happened. There are mitigating factors, structural issues,injuries and suspensions, to it seemed the whole of the defence at one point. Losing Danny, Bellerin, Holding was a blow when we were on a run.. I believe this, his lack of effective signings in Jan, and lack of trust in youth led to him overplaying players, some of whom just ran out of steam. Emery has made mistakes, as he might , his first season in this league, we shall find out what he learned. I cannot see them firing emery this summer,,they will get presumably EDu in, see how they nags pan out, but if the end of season carries on for any amount of time, the next will be UEs final season. But on a positive note, maybe he will have learned things, he may get some players more suited to his style and hopefully, he is a coach who may perform better in year 2, he will need to..
    whatever is or isn’t happening behind the scenes, it is clear the Ozil situation is not going away. That substation in Baku looked pretty pointed to me, though Willock did well when he came on. A neutral would say for his sanity, Ozil would be better off elsewhere, but he of course he has the right to just sit tight, which I suspect he will do. If he stays and plays,they have to bring in or develop effective runners and wide players to work with him.
    Structural issues. firstly Mislintat, whatever happened there, has relegated himself to the German second division. Ivan Gazidis is a self serving …..insert your own word here……but he has gone, I wonder if some high up are ultimately pleased with that. Good luck with his weasel words and empty platitudes in Milan, and a bit of advice. IG I am sure enlisted JK, started the fire, and ran away. And best of luck to Edu assuming it’s him
    Possible ,unlikely, but unforeseen scenario -emery demands Ozil out, but the board don’t back him, Emery gets an offer from Spain and we are back to square one again.
    We are in a clear , maybe inevitable stage in decline at the moment, a bit scary looking forward. The club really need to get a grip. They are going to need incredibly clever people , decent planning and better funding to compete in the future. Scant evidence of any of that at the moment, let’s hope Edu marks an upward turn.

    Liked by 3 people

  4. I did Shard and it was well worth it-a great summary of all the plays. Many thanks for putting the season to rest in epic style.

    And big thanks to Labo for all his great previews, to Andy Nic and George for the reviews- some of which must have been tough to write and to everyone else who wrote articles, but also to everyone who posts on the site night and day and makes it possible to have a natter about the Arsenal without having to go to other sites which seem perpetually to be on the dark side of the Goonerverse (nein danke). And an extra shout out to Pedantic George for keeping the ship pointed in the right direction when the bad stormy weather came in and providing the platform for us all.

    We can sit back and look at look at the straw man logistics of aftv for summer entertainment( wii golf fluffed shout sound: uuuurrrrhhhhh)….

    Cheers to everyone and thanks again Shard.


    Liked by 4 people

  5. Mandy,

    Great comment with a lot to unpack right there.

    The problem is this bright hope for when Emery gets his own players in, is actually a serious cause for concern for me. Emery’s not made mistakes. Or at least, that’s not what I have a problem with. Emery sold us a vision of football that he has neither the intention nor the capability to deliver. Any success we have under his system if going to be based on a net negative for Arsenal. I mean it’s already led to the loss of Ramsey and, effectively, Ozil. It’s costing us money just to have Arsenal adapt to Emery rather than the other way around like it should be.

    Gazidis is self serving. They all are. But some are worse than others. Gazidis was not the worst we’ve seen at Arsenal. By the way, I think he’ll become Commissioner or Chairman of any European Super League. Arsenal’s place might even be under threat if we carry on in this manner, and in the meantime Wolves, Everton and especially Newcastle make moves to overtake us.

    Mislintat landed a job where he can control the club’s ‘technical direction’. That is what he’d been promised at Arsenal. He should have had it. Maybe Edu can arrest the slide a bit, but I am not overly hopeful, since he’ll be reporting to Mr Raul.

    Liked by 4 people

  6. Thanks Mills. Glad you liked it.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. have to disagree with you shard on what the club has to communicate to the fans, yes if we are as seems very likely sticking with Emery the club should make that clear, I think they have, our two exec’s interview had both of them extol how happy they are with him, so that is that done, for me the only other thing they should tell fans is who is coming in as DoF, if it is Edu as seems to be the word given to the media, then the club should get an agreement with the Brazil FA for us to announce it. Other than that the club should tell fans fuck all, what right have the fans to know or make the club announce our transfer budget, that would be madness, what sort of business sense would it make to announce it, just as it would be stupid to announce what our plans are for the squad. When a player is bought or sold, that is the time to announce it, and the only time.

    Anyway we are back playing in 33 days, so if our club is now properly run we should quickly know what players are joining and who are leaving.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I admit I absolutely hoped for Arteta and so didn’t fancy Emery much. Kept my judgement right at ‘no like – no dislike’ mark even with Ramsey stuff going on. Till Özil stuff began and performances suffered more visibly and Emery persisted for several games–I gave up. For me, the damage was done, his ‘vision’ was clear at that point.

    Often I think positive football is enough, I can put up with whatever result. But then I ask myself whether a coach with that mindset really exists any more, unless he works for a mid-table club with little perspective of changed fortune. I mean a man like AW is rare, why could I expect another person with no (supposed) outstanding characteristics and from PSG to stand up against all odds too?

    The season was long. At least it’s over now. Goodbye to Aaron, Danny. And my Number 9 Reyes.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. shard where and when was Mislintat promised he would have control over someone higher up than him, he was a chief scout by any other name, a DoF is clearly above that, and that is why Sven wanted the DoF job, he is now doing that job with a club in the second tier of German football, what does that tell you about his suitability for the job of DoF at Arsenal.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. the whole soundbite of “bring his own players in” is nothing but that, a soundbite, its rubbish. A Manager brings in his players, a Head Coach, which is what Emery is, Coaches the players he is given. Its why we went for a Head Coach, its the European, even the world style of doing things, its why clubs can move along Head Coaches, and not have “His Players” looking to leave.
    The get his players in is nothing more than many of those that hounded Wenger, trying to make excuses for the mistakes Emery has made, they can’t be seen to be hypocrites, so they now blame the players, of course its an extension for some to still blame Wenger, even after “We Got Our Arsenal Back”

    Liked by 2 people

  11. if the football we saw for the majority of the season is Emery’s vision, then he really needs to go to Spec Savers

    Liked by 2 people

  12. Shard, certainly agree, adapting to Emery is costing us seriousmoney, I suspect we don’t know the half of it yet either. I genuinely fear what this summer may bring, lose Lacca , Auba or both and let’s face it, we won’t be replacing with similar quality.
    Think emery was bought in as a wrecking ball to Wenger ball, despite any stated intentions last summer, or otherwise. The powers that be not seeing Wengerball as viable for this club going forward, especially with the decline in the last two or three years. It seems Emery wants us a tough, steely ,resilient, pressing, and I am sure attacking team, more Milner than Ozil, but whether he has the resources, ability or time to emulate, probably Liverpool, only time will tell. And if Liverpool is the model, could do with someone having a word with the PGMOL to suggest we may benefit in the same way they do!
    I have a lot of mixed, in fact, negative feelings in the march towards the super league, but let’s face it, fail in the quest for that, we become strictly second division and all that entails.If the Kroenkes cannot put something in place to get us amongst the contenders for that I hope they sell , though even in the unlikely event they did, I suspect those lining up to buy would resemble an Amnesty International Black list.
    Really wish edu the best of British, or Brazilian. This club needs a stable, long term , hands on exec who really knows the game after wengers departure. The Kroenkes, Raul, Vinai don’t fit that bill, just hope they have found the right man, with our owners and model, they need to .

    Liked by 2 people

  13. the idea that we should not sell one of Lacazette or Aubameyang if we need to add funds to our transfer budget seems odd to me, after all it seems all season long that Emery does not want both in the team at the same time, he like with Ramsey and Ozil, hasn’t got a clue how to play them together or fit them in the team. No place for quality likes these four when we are cut back FC.
    as someone stated, it seems an Emery player is more James Milner than Mesut Ozil or Aaron Ramsey

    Liked by 3 people

  14. Excellent Shard,
    If we get better in the next two seasons then this season will be seen as a reasonable start and a transitional season, if we don’t it will be judged as a waste.
    At the moment we have some brilliant young players and some good reasons to be optimistic about the future. However there are also some worrying trends that need to be addressed pretty quickly.
    At the moment I don’t feel particularly positive about next season although I’m hoping to see more youngsters and I know football can change very quickly so you never really know what’s going to happen next.

    Liked by 4 people

  15. ed

    Sven Mislintat was Head of Recruitment. The reason he didn’t hold the technical director post is because that was still part of Wenger’s remit and no such structure existed. Mislintat was clearly more than a scout. You don’t have the head scout sit in on interviews for potential head coaches. Arsenal were clearly signalling he would be setting the ‘technical direction’ of the team, while Emery would be the head coach.

    Where he ended up is a big club in Germany, even if they are struggling. But that is neither here nor there. A lot of factors go into where people decide to join. All I know is that in the short time he was here, he did a very good job of revamping Arsenal, preparing us for the future to build on Wengerball. The only reason he is gone is because Raul wanted full control and bring in his man into the technical director role.

    Who by the way, is going to be his second line scapegoat if and when things go wrong. The only reason Emery won’t be fired is because Raul vouched for him. Instead we’ll double down this route, Raul will appoint Edu, and do his actual thing of working with agents. Then if it goes wrong Emery can be sacked, and if it continues to go wrong, Edu can carry the blame for him.

    Oh, and communicating with fans doesn’t mean you tell them the figures. It means you decide on a style and a vision and try to get the fans to buy in. Something Gazidis actually did with Emery, only to have it thrown away. There’s a reason those two held that interview before the EL final. To have flexibility (and escape ire) if it all went wrong.

    Liked by 3 people

  16. So Lichtsteiner has confirmed he is leaving at the end of the month when his contract expires. Thats 4 and counting

    Liked by 1 person

  17. what did Sven do to revamp us for the future and build on Wengerball, not a damn thing more than Steve Rowley did before him.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Huh? That’s an odd take ed. I genuinely don’t understand it. All the transfers since January 2018. The Dortmund guys agreeing to join, Ozil’s contract, Torreira, Guendouzi, Mavropanos before that. Leno. These made our attack stronger, added youth and potential in our midfield, addressed a weakness at GK, and added the experience lacking in defense. It was a soft reboot which maintained the team’s identity, and set the team up nicely for the next couple of seasons with gradual changes needed.

    And he did all that with a fairly low budget. (No cost in Jan, 70m in the summer) I think it’s a very commendable job and he was exactly what we needed to ‘outsmart the market’.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Mandy,

    As mentioned in the article, the only way to raise funds is to sell Laca, Auba or Bellerin. I’m almost certain we’ll sell Lacazette. (Auba is older and more reliant on speed) and Bellerin has no ready sub. Maybe if we buy Meunier as is being rumoured we’ll sell Hector. Though that is probably for next season.

    Doesn’t have to be a bad thing. But it depends on if you trust them to get the recruiting right. Unfortunately, I don’t.

    Liked by 2 people

  20. PEA has said several times that it was Wenger that got him to sign for us, did not mention sven that I can recall.
    I have not seen anyone say Sven had anything at all to do with Ozil contract.
    Nor the swap of Alexis and Mkhitaryan.
    Mavropanos has been a nothing signing, what is it, six first team games, with one 90 minutes game, not deemed worthy of place in our EL squad despite the problems we had at CB.
    Did I say problems at CB, seen nothing from Sokratis that suggests he is any better than Mustafi, just as rash, constantly getting silly needless bookings, served two suspensions for bookings. but he is a shiny new toy so we can’t say a bad word about him.
    Torreira started brightly, but has been poor since christmas.
    Leno a very good signing. Lichtsteiner a very bad signing.
    For me the jury is still out on Guendouzi, I have asked many times and am yet to get a good answer, what does he actually bring to the team, what is he actually very good at. He does not score, he does not assist, he does not create, he is poor defensively, is not a big tackler, I give you he is confident, runs around a lot, and stands out with his long hair, but I don’t see even what he will develop into.

    yeah our spending net was not very big at all, just about £65M, as we took back in half of the £130M we spent, not including the alexis/mkhitaryan swap. And Sven might very well have been the diamond eyes we needed to be smart in the transfer window, what a pity he didn’t want to be Head of Recruitment, but wanted to be a DoF instead.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Losing Lacca would be a shame, that’s quite a few goals, a substantial threat to opponents, and depending on who they buy, might not send the best message, not sure Auba would be overjoyed either.
    Your last paragraph on trusting them to buy sums up the fears of many, let’s hope they are more together than they sometimes appear with Edu and his new Sven replacement perhaps already at work behind the scenes

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Weren’t Gazidis and Sven seen in Dortmund before we bought Auba? I’m sure PEA spoke to Wenger. It’s not one or the other. But if Sven was only a scout, how come he was interviewing his potential boss? And how come Gazidis was talking about him setting up the football side of things, and Raul to handle the business side of things?

    This is the thing, Gazidis was meant to be the boss, with both Raul and Sven on an equal footing handling different sides of the business. Now, Raul retains control over his side of the business, but is also his own boss (along w Vinai) and the boss of whoever is the ‘Technical Director’. It’s a lopsided structure, and not what Sven was brought in for. I would leave too if I were him.

    Really, whatever you think of those players and how they’ve performed (how much of that is down to Emery?) Sven was Head of RECRUITMENT… A technical director in all but name. Oh, and it seemed to me that he earned Wenger’s trust with the Mavropanos signing. Wenger wasn’t happy initially, but then he kept him instead of sending him on loan. Mislintat, whatever his oddball nature, was a football man who also used stats. Much like Wenger. And not like the StatsDNA dudes who dissuaded Arsenal from signing Griezmann.

    Liked by 3 people

  23. Sell Lacazette or Aubameyang and the owners will have a gooner mutiny on their hands!
    Together they constitute a good chunk of our “drawing ” power to fans and their peers alike . For me, all is far from lost. Yes our new hierarchy reeks more of corporate flatulence than service to the beautiful game but the holes that need to be be filled to revitalise this squad are not of the rocket science variety. The buck stops at Stan Kroenke’s door to invest more money into the team. QED.

    If not, 2019/20 will be a complete mess of a season, brand, Emery, Raoul, or whatever target is installed as culprit. In service to the beautiful game, AW invested the highest salary ever in maestro Mesut to serve as a metaphorical counterpoint to the suits and dumdums and left with words, “take care of the values of the club”, ie, “dear Stan, you have 3 years (2021) to respect or destroy (all the hard work that’s built up) the core values of Arsenal FC ..choose wisely”.
    Is it FIXIT or BREAKIT?
    We wait and we wonder.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Anyway, not sure why we should spend so much energy on Mislintat, but I find it amazing that it’s not recognised that he was brought in to be the GM/TD/DoF of the footballing side of the business, and Raul was to handle the business side of contracts and negotiations etc. That was made abundantly clear with how Arsenal had sold the post Wenger structure to us.

    Liked by 2 people

  25. Any major sale will have a ready made escape clause for the suits at Arsenal. Look at Liverpool selling Coutinho.

    Already our fans have started to demand a more ‘rational’ spending. No more keeping our best players. Now it’s get rid of anyone who costs too much money. Buy cheaper. Be ‘smart’.

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Sven as Head of Recruitment was bound to be involved in any signings, just as Dick Law was before him, and his input would have been taken by Wenger, just as they man he replaced, Chief Scout Steve Rowley had input in signings.
    As for Mavropanos, Wenger gave him 3 games, Emery has given him 4, he was sub in one of those games and taken off in the other 3. so yet to get a full game for Emery. Are we really overstating how good this lad is.

    Sven left cos he did not get the promotion he wanted. He had no experience in a DoF role, so I can see why the club did not give it to him.
    We can only wait and see what Edu brings if he is made DoF, and what Cagaigo does as Head of Recrutiment if he gets that role, as is the rumors.

    Liked by 1 person

  27. Shard it is clear that the Club PR has worked wonders on the malcontents, the bloggers and the big twitter accounts. That the club can get away with withdrawing a contract from Ramsey, look to be trying to force Ozil to leave, clearing so many of the biggest wage earners out, and suggesting lots of cheap signings as the way to improve, all with the blessing of so many of the fans, is of great credit to Arsenal FC’s PR wing. What an amazing job of promoting austerity, cut back FC on and off the pitch.

    Liked by 3 people

  28. It’s them riding on the Wenger hate. Making everything the previous regime’s fault. It’s cheap and obviously only short termist. But it sets them up as the good guys and they’re going to run with it as long as they can.

    I think there’s some confusion w the whole DoF terminology. A DoF can mean anything. But in the structure Raul n Vinai depicted, Raul would handle the contracts and negotiations with agents (institutional Relations I believe he called this) and a ‘technical director’ would be appointed to oversee the general strategic direction of the team, including recruitment. The head scout and the stats guys will report to the TD. Sven was brought in to be that guy, and not the head scout. Which is why he sat as an equal member on the committee that decided who to hire as the head coach.

    Liked by 2 people

  29. Makes you wonder ( if true) why Raul was sending out an email to the staff after the EL final loss telling everyone to get a bigger perspective. My point being why is that his job if his job is institutional relations (exterior)?
    Q: can a ‘technical director’ be hired who wasnt ever a player? What can the strategy direction be? Head towards the goal and boot the ball in, pass it around a bit, dont let a goal in? Surely that the job of the head coach?
    I know Im missing the pint but titles are for authoritarians and lead everyone up the garden path?

    Seem utterly bizarre that even the idea of Lacca or PEA are on the move is around, must be the Daily Fail putting that one around?

    Liked by 2 people

  30. Mills,

    Raul is also co-CEO. That’s why he will send out those mails.

    Technical director is a fancy term. Basically how I view it is that since football coaches have become short term hires, you need to ensure that your medium to long term planning is also kept in mind. The likes of Harry Redknapp and to an extent Mourinho, have long mortgaged the future of the clubs they’ve been at just to get the most for the moment, add to their CVs, and depart. A technical director would guard against that, as his remit is a focus beyond the season.

    Liked by 2 people

  31. Seems to me it would have been better from the top half- Ken Friar upwards not middle management posing with titles to have sent out the mail. But that’s my own personal bs. Middle management comes, middle management goes. With big pay off. Who of these people really care about AFC?

    Liked by 2 people

  32. http://youaremyarsenal.com/unai-emery-arsenal-statistical-analysis/

    Don’t know if anyone seen this but seems like a descent stat based breakdown of Emery’s season.

    Liked by 2 people

  33. Enojyed reading this. What were the ‘disappointing statements’ from the manager?

    Liked by 1 person

  34. ianspace

    Remarkable positivity! I’m serious. I don’t know how you do it. I just don’t believe in this manager, and am very wary of this Raul chap. In the short time they’ve been in charge, they’ve changed virtually everything that makes Arsenal special. For me at least.

    Liked by 3 people

  35. Aah Oleg.. I’ll leave that to your judgment for now. Maybe I’ll write about it some other time. (banned smiley)

    Liked by 2 people

  36. Thanks, will be interesting to hear your thoughts.

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Shard

    If it’s a question of whether the appointment of Wmery was the stupid action of someone illeterate in Football or sabotage, the inability for a DoF to come in and replace our Football Relations guy (Raul) from being in charge of EVERYTHING now he’s seen off Ivan and Sven and the insanity of the Rambo saga and the eviseration of the coach’s respect in the dressing room (please refer to the last month if confused) would, to me, indicate the latter. I hope I’m wrong and that Raul is just stupid. however the transcripts and quotes from the Neymar court case would suggest otherwise.

    Liked by 1 person

  38. Events will eventually take care of themselves. The fact is, despite some mitigating factors, Emerys numbers, described in detail in many places recently, just do not look good. For a club claiming to be so data aware, such things will not be lost on them.
    Stan does not seem the most reactionary of owners, to a fault his critics will say, so it is likely emery will be given a chance next season, beyond that will surely depend on his performance, unless he sees some writing on the wall at some stage, or gets an offer.
    We will soon find out if it is just early days, there is a genuine plan in place, if there is any ambition from the top, or if those running and coaching the club just don’t have a clue. If the latter transpires, combined with any lack of ambition, real or perceived, I suspect the protests aimed at Wenger will look small and insignificant to what may come to pass.
    I cannot substantiate why, but just expecting things to improve next season, despite the evidence, could be a painful summer though

    Liked by 1 person

  39. A DoF should know what a Football is.
    The round thing. Full of air. That you kick.

    In the same way that joiner should understand what timber or lumber is, or to be specific all the different types!

    You can have a cultural revolution and start from year zero, kill anyone that can read or write and build from nothing with twigs of unknown properties, an unnecessary and some would say barbaric change of style if you like, yet that too could be described as authoritarian! Hehe.

    Liked by 1 person

  40. Fins,

    Whatever led to Gazidis’ departure, I don’t know. But it’s crazy that despite many months notice, the best solution Arsenal could come up with was to appoint our commercial officer (probably a glorified accountant) and agent relationship handler, as JOINT CEOs.

    This at a time that Juventus’ CEO was available (since joined Inter Milan) , let alone any of the other places Arsenal could have looked.

    Even forgetting talk of bad intentions or (lack of) qualifications, it’s remarkable that Sanllehi basically reports to himself.

    This is most of all on Josh Kroenke.

    Liked by 3 people

  41. Mandy, if there are protests, the coach will get fired, but our top man CEO will stay hidden. Look at ManU and Woodward. The whole thing’s a mess despite their budgets. Yet the man clings on. How? He gives the owners what they want. Edu may get some football decisions right, but as long as the TD reports to the same guy controlling contracts and agents and this person is named Raul Sanllehi, he’ll be just another potential scapegoat.

    However I can understand having this belief that things will get better. I ‘feel’ the same way. I just seem incapable of believing it, and maybe that says more about me than Arsenal.

    Liked by 2 people

  42. the media have several stories that Emery wants Ozil out at all costs, anything from 2 year loan with AFC paying large chunk of his wages, to actually paying up the two years of his contract and dumping him. Seems a bit far fetched, but I could see Emery wanting him sold, even for a small fee.

    Ozil started the EL final, but was clearly under instruction to man mark Jorginho. He was unhappy when subbed off, there are claims he called Emery anything form a pussy to telling him he is not a coach. I’ve seen it said that the pussy comment may have been Ozil saying in German pisser, which is fucker, or something like that. There is also some claims that any swearing Mesut was doing was aimed at a member of the CFC coaching staff who had said something to Ozil when he was being subbed off.

    Anyway back to point, what do you all think the future holds for Ozil at Arsenal, has he a future here, is there anything to suggest Emery wants him here, or that he is able to use Ozil effectively. Is there a place for Ozil in Emery’s tactics. Whats best for AFC, Emery and Ozil in all this.

    A lot of questions in there, but it really boils down to the simple one, has Ozil an Arsenal future under Emery.

    Liked by 1 person

  43. Thank you for an excellent post. You reflect a lot of my thoughts, although I am taking a more pessimistic view about the immediate future.

    The club is becoming top heavy with administrators and officials, as though it was some multi-national company and not a football team.

    This bureaucracy is getting bigger and bigger and pushing the chief coach/manager further away from managing the team.

    I also simply do not subscribe to the idea that UE has to bring in a whole new team of players in order to bring his “vision” to pass.

    Replacing players who are no better than we have now, subject to one caveat that they do what they are told and do not use their own brains to think with, hardly seems the way forward,

    I can see more Guendouzis being brought in who expend lots of energy in running around and getting nowhere. Eduardo, I agree with you on this and have asked the same question myself before.

    UE’s supposed dossiers about each player and how he was going to utilise them seem to me to be nothing more than a myth and a misrepresentation.

    I also do not see too many fo the good quality academy players getting much of a look in either.

    I am afraid, in my eyes, the future looks bleak. The last few games of the season could very well be a taster for what is to come.

    Liked by 3 people

  44. Shard – NIcely done analysis. I have officially added this to my required Arsenal reading list. Always enjoy your comments at 7am. There is much to fear about the upcoming transfer window and season. This has the potential to spiral downward fast. I also think we are likely to sell either Auba or Laca. Much as I love Auba, we would do better to sell him, as he’s on the cusp of falling off dramatically. As they say, better to sell a year too early than a year too late.
    As much as I was displeased with Emery’s style of play, I’m not comfortable putting the blame predominantly on him. Our roster is very midtable. Outside of our strikers, which players get a legit look at the other top 6 teams? Maybe Bellerin. We just don’t have the quality we all associate with The Arsenal. Our midfield, especially with Ramsey’s departure, is terrifying. Zero athleticism. We won’t even make 5th next year without a a couple of more athletic midfielders. We need pace. Looking back, it’s clear we really fell apart after Ramsey was injured.
    Yes, our LB situation is tenuous, and our CB status is weak. But without a midfield that can run with the competition (which now includes Wolves, LCity, and Everton) we will continue to get whacked on the counter – and that’s as much of a problem as the defenders at the back.
    I hate what Emery did with/to Ozil this year. He’s one of the reasons I’ve had any joy about the club in the last few years, but I see how bad of a match he is with Emery’s more Milner-esque aspirations. Our defense and attack are so disconnected with the midfield options we have. A more athletic midfield, even if less skilled probably means ugly football. But it might mean some results that get us back to CL, and a budget for a true rebuild.


  45. Muschi= pussy
    Ficker= fucker
    Fotze= Cunt
    Verpiss dich = fuck you and piss off together.
    Pisser is someone who takes a piss.
    But calling somebody a muschi (pussy) can also mean they are weak.

    But what if Mesut was speak in Türkisch?

    Liked by 1 person

  46. also he might have called him a vixer(wanker)? Of course he might not have said any of them. Many out there like to spread malcontent and bad words just for their amusement as we know.

    Liked by 1 person

  47. well just one more thing on the notion that Ozil has to be got rid of due to his supposed £350K a week wages, I say supposed, as I’ve seen that he only gets that amount if all clauses in contract are met, such as wins, league position etc, that he is more on £270K a week, anyway to the point, we are losing the wages of Cech, Lichtsteiner, Ramsey and Welbeck off the pay roll, don’t tell me those four’s wages combined are not beyond what we give Ozil.
    Also would the wages we paid to Jenkinson, Elneny and Mavropanos for a combined 10+5 BPL games this season not be a bigger waste of money than that paid to one of our most marketable stars, which would the sponsors want to be seen in the catalogue, those 3 or Ozil, which sells the product for them, which are they paying the big bucks in sponsorship to the club for.

    Liked by 2 people

  48. well mills dpeaking as someone who was taken off a few too many times for my liking, I would suggest that Ozil might very well have just swore, as much at himself as anyone in particular, or even just been swearing at the fact we looked certain to lose the final, who of us that has played any sport even at the lowest level, not swore on the sidelines, without it being aimed at any coach or other player etc

    Liked by 3 people

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